Club Management Focus: Spring 2017

Oxford Bridge Festival

by Robert Procter, of Oxfordshire CBA

Oxfordshire Bridge Association and its clubs are holding a four day social bridge festival from September 4 to 7 this autumn.

It will be very different from the sort of competitive events or congresses your members may be used to. The emphasis will be on social content, learning and fun rather than cut-throat competition. Small prizes rather than master points will reward bridge and social skills.

The events will be split between St Hugh’s College and a number of Oxford City Centre locations. As well as a choice between duplicate and rubber bridge every day, there will be tea with sumptuous home-made cakes and a fun dingbats and double-dummy quiz on day 1, expert-led seminars and session reviews on days 2 and 4, cafe bridge including lunch in the centre of Oxford on day 3 and a three course dinner and prize-giving in St Hugh’s College Dining Hall at the end of day 4. Between all this there will be plenty of time for social interaction and for enjoying the sights of central Oxford.

Full details and entry form can be found at this link, or type into the address field of a browser. Alternatively contact Annabel Wade on 07710 422109 or by email at

So why is the idea of a “social festival” worth trying? Perhaps both EBU and county events heretofore have been too serious or too competitive to attract many of their members. This is probably one reason why all of those who play in unaffiliated clubs, golf clubs, their kitchens and the like have not even joined affiliated clubs, let alone entered EBU or county competitions. If the EBU with its counties and affiliated clubs wish to broaden their membership base to encompass the “non-competitive” bridge player they may need to put on more events that appeal to such players. This festival is an attempt at doing that.

Oxfordshire hopes its festival will appeal to all bridge players whether members of affiliated clubs or not. It also hopes the festival will particularly be an opportunity for inexperienced players. Perhaps they might enhance the learning experience element by partnering someone with greater bridge experience. A number of county-standard players will be giving their time free of charge to the educational elements of the festival, which means that the price entrants are paying is kept down to just cover the food, drink, accommodation and equipment elements.

Oxfordshire wishes to invite members of all EBU clubs to help promote the event either by playing themselves or better still by bringing along a non-member or by bringing the event to the notice of non-member bridge players who they think might be interested. Annabel Wade (details above) can supply a promotional poster and cards to leave on bridge tables if these would help.